Faulty Heating System Repairs/Modifications Released Lethal Levels of Carbon Monoxide
Defendants Ashcraft; Jim's Heating & Refrigeration; Inter Island Propane
UPDATE 8/5/2017: Attorney Chris Davis has responded to "false and/or misleading statements" made by attorney Carla J. Higginson, corporate counsel for Inter-Island Propane and Jim's Heating via a letter to the editor at The Islands' Sounder newspaper. Mr. Davis's full response can be read at this link.
ORIGINAL NEWS STORY: San Juan County, Washington - Attorney Chris Davis, of Davis Law Group, P.S., has filed a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the Estate of Troy J. Sullivan, age 31, who was killed by carbon monoxide poisoning stemming from a negligently repaired heating system inside residence located in Friday Harbor, Washington. Mr. Sullivan died on April 3, 2017.
The San Juan County Medical Examiner ‘s toxicology analysis of Sullivan’s blood showed that the level of carbon monoxide in his blood was 71% (carboxyhemoglobin saturation). The average adult human being has less than 3 to 5% of carbon monoxide levels (carboxyhemoglobin) in the blood.
The complaint filed in San Juan County Superior Court (17-2-05124-2) alleges that the homeowner, Edward Ashcraft, negligently repaired and modified the home’s heating system while receiving advice, instruction, consultation and/or oversight from Friday Harbor companies Jim's Heating & Refrigeration and Inter Island Propane, LLC. The companies are owned and run by Friday Harbor resident Jimmie Lawson, II. The lawsuit alleges that the repairs and modifications to the home heating system did not satisfy local building safety codes and manufacturer standards, and that the companies knew about it but took no action to protect occupants or guests of the home. The lawsuit further alleges that the defendants’ acts and omissions caused Mr. Sullivan’s death while he was an overnight guest in the home.
The homeowner had recently performed maintenance work on the home’s heating system by installing an undersized plastic PVC vent pipe to the system’s exhaust outlet. PVC is a synthetic plastic pipe that is not to be used with mechanical devices that generate high heat because the heat can cause the PVC to melt, soften and/or separate. PVC pipe manufacturers generally do not recommend using PVC pipe as a flue material. As a result, the home’s heating system released lethal levels of carbon monoxide gas into the living spaces during the night that Troy J. Sullivan was sleeping inside the residence.
The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages for Mr. Sullivan’s wrongful death.
We ask that members of the media respect the privacy of the victim’s family and direct all media requests to Davis Law Group, P.S.
- Edward and Tami Lee Ashcraft are the owners of the home at 165 Channel Heights, Friday Harbor, Washington and were responsible for its proper maintenance and upkeep.
- The homeowner had hired Jim’s Heating & Refrigeration to perform work on the home’s boiler and/or to provide him with advice on maintenance and repair of the home’s boiler. Jim’s Heating was supposed to replace the plastic PVC pipe with a non-plastic alternative that met building safety code requirements, however, failed to correct the dangerous condition.
- Inter Island Propane, LLC provided propane gas to the residence and is responsible for inspecting and maintaining the gas lines and fittings between the tank and the boiler, and making sure that the boiler had a safe and sufficient exhaust assembly.
Estate of Troy Jeremiah Sullivan, by and through Alana D. Sullivan and Troyce Thome, Personal Representatives.
DLG Case Number: 201668
Case Title: Estate of Troy Sullivan v. Ashcraft, et al
Court: San Juan County Superior Court
Date Filed: 07/24/2017